Not the kind of coincidence you want to see too much

The community rink in Ross River had burned down

It’s the kind of coincidence you don’t want to hear about but what can you do?

If you’ll recall in my Feb. 25 column, I wrote about my own outdoor hockey playing memory. It was about playing in an outdoor community rink in Ross River, Yukon. I hadn’t thought much about it in the 36 years since it happened but the outdoor Heritage Classic was played in Calgary Feb. 20 and it prompted me to reflect on my own outdoor hockey experience.

Well, I was watching the Canucks-Calgary game on Saturday night and in between periods Ron Maclean of Hockey Night in Canada reported the sad news that the community rink in Ross River had burned down! By this time, of course, the community had an indoor rink and recreation centre that came about, at least partially, through the efforts of locally-stationed Mounties.

The loss to that small First Nations community is tragic, of course. The recreation centre served as a diversion from social problems that are sadly too common in remote northern communities.

Genesee Keevil of the Yukon News (where I worked for two-and-a-half years in the late eighties), reported: “By 4 a.m., flames were leaping from the building, considered by many to be the heart of the community.

“Standing outside at minus 35, the community gathered to watch the building burn.

“‘Everyone’s in shock,’ said Doreen Etzel, who works at the general store. ‘It’s especially bad for the kids, they lost all that hockey equipment and now they have nowhere to go at night.’ Above the rink, there was a drop-in centre where Ross River’s youth played pool, video games, watched movies and just hung out.”

Keevil later wrote: “And the arena – which was featured during Hockey Day in Canada – had just been renovated.

“Ross River’s RCMP detachment put hours of work into the rink, replacing the boards, grading the sand before the ice was laid, and painting the lines on the frozen surface.”

Hopefully, the community can get the facility rebuilt.

In the swim

Meanwhile, speaking of rebuilt facilities, my daughter and I took advantage of the free swimming on Saturday at the recently re-opened Strathcona Gardens pool.

It didn’t look much different other than the family change room wasn’t open yet and the men’s change room had been moved to where the women’s used to be and it’s smaller.

Which was interesting because these free days at the pool are hugely popular and the pool is jam packed. I’ve been to some New Year’s Eve swims where you can barely find a patch of open water.

The pool is definitely the most popular recreation facility in town. There was a great deal of people upset about the delays with the renovation but that’s all behind us now. Makes me think of the old song, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

RCMP seek man facing sexual assault charges

Police believe he may be living on central Vancouver Island but also has a history in the Cariboo region

Campbell River restaurant to be converted into housing for people experiencing homelessness

BC Housing buys popular eatery for $985,000 to serve as bridge housing

NIC launches virtual orientation sessions

New students encouraged to take part in virtual sessions, webinars, video tours starting this summer

Patron of the Arts hosts hat-building contest in Campbell River

Group is looking for hats made from recycled or upcycled materials and will display them downtown

UPDATE: More details released on search for missing Vancouver Island hiker

Searchers scouring Strathcona Park near Gold River for experienced 65-year-old on 40-kilometre trek

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Most Read